Hinterland - Friday, 13 April, 2018

This week – poor rural connectivity by phone or broadband, rural crime, travel challenges for rural young people, fishing and crisps.
We are also beginning to gear up for the next RSN Regional Meeting on 25 May in Durham where the theme will be economic development. Watch this space!

*         *          *


UK could create 5,000 jobs by moving to sustainable fishing, says report

This whole area of economic life is little understood. What is fascinating is the role the UK Government has had in deciding who can catch fish – read on….

Moving to sustainable catches of the most important species of fish would generate 5,000 new jobs and add more than £300m a year to the economy, after the UK leaves the EU’s common fisheries policy, a new report has found.

Sustainable management of fish stocks would require limits on fishing for several years, as the current EU policies allow catches greater than populations of some key species can readily recover from, but within about seven to 10 years of setting its own policies the UK could be reaping the benefits, according to Oceana, a non-governmental organisation that focuses on fishing.

However, this outcome would depend not just on the government agreeing to impose smaller catches on fishing fleets for several years, but also on reaching a suitable agreement with other European nations, because many of the UK’s fishing grounds are shared.

Allowing stocks to recover would enable fishing fleets to increase their catch by more than 150,000 tonnes a year, with net profits more than doubling to more than £80m a year, according to the Oceana analysis.

Under the common fisheries policy (CFP) of the EU, the UK’s fleet has diminished, and currently accounts for about 11,000 jobs. This is partly because of the way in which successive British governments have interpreted the EU rules, which has allowed bigger vessels – many of them owned overseas, rather than in the UK – to dominate. About two-thirds of the UK’s quota is awarded to three multinational companies. If the government awarded more of the CFP quota to smaller vessels, more jobs could be created in the UK.


Transport barrier for youngsters in rural areas

A piece of similar research would be equally illuminating in parts of rural England. The needs of young people in rural places are frequently overlooked and this is a powerful narrative.

The research showed that young people questioned spent an average of 20% of their income on travelling to work, and that a third of them had to travel more than 30 miles per day for work or education.

Emma Cooper, chief executive of Scottish Rural Action, said: “Young people in rural areas deserve the same access to education and employment as young people who live elsewhere, and to do that, we need an integrated, reliable, frequent and affordable public transport system.

“Young people are telling us that they are missing out on jobs and training because public transport costs too much for them, which will have a lifelong impact on their skill levels, earnings and our rural economy.”


Counties ‘suffer with slow broadband speeds’

Tell me something I didn’t know…..

More than two thirds of English counties have slower than average broadband speeds, the County Councils Network has found.

A report produced by the CCN in collaboration with Grant Thornton, found that the average download speed for counties was 37.65mbit/s, which is below the national average of 45mbit/s.

Analysis of Ofcom data showed that in total 169 areas in England have broadband speeds below the national average. Of these, 83% are based in England’s counties.


Mobile operators ‘abandoning countryside to digital wilderness’

I think the lack of good mobile connectivity, particularly in view of recent trends in the use of mobile devices, is just as iniquitous as a lack of broadband. This article tells us:

Mobile operators are abandoning the countryside to a “digital wilderness” by failing to submit planning applications, according to the CLA.

New information shows that mobile network operators are failing to submit planning applications for new mobile phone masts to resolve the coverage in some of the worst served rural areas.

In Rutland, which has the worst 4G coverage of any local authority area in England or Wales, no planning application for a new mast was made by any mobile operator in 2015, 2016 or 2017.

Other rural local authority areas where no applications were made in any of those three years include the Forest of Dean and Tunbridge Wells.

The CLA, which represents landowners and farmers, obtained the new data through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to planning authorities across England and Wales.


‘Brazen criminals’: Rural crime cost UK £44.5m in 2017

Who said rural England was crime free? This articletells us: New data shows rural crime cost the UK £44.5m in 2017, with the future trend showing a rise in this form of crime as thieves become more “brazen” as they target the countryside.

Every year rural crime costs millions of pounds and causes untold anxiety across the UK countryside.

Farmers are having to increase security and adopt new ways of protecting their equipment and stock with many farms being turned into fortresses, where thieves are repeatedly targeting quads, tractors and power tools.

This is also causing high levels of anxiety amongst farmers who know their rural location makes them vulnerable to attacks.

According to NFU Mutual, the shocking crime figures are the highest level in four years.

This year, widespread concern in rural communities has led NFU Mutual to issue an early warning to farmers and country dwellers to increase security.

Tim Price, NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist explained: “From the South East of England to the North of Scotland we’re seeing brazen criminals stealing cars, 4 x 4s, tractors, quad bikes and tools.

“We’re especially concerned that criminals are becoming more sophisticated and are overcoming electronic security to steal expensive vehicles of all types.

“With police facing huge challenges – including budget cuts and extra workload – forces are finding it hard to resource rural policing and this may be one of the reasons for the rise in thefts we are seeing.”


Boy finds 30-year-old packet of Walkers crisps

Just to show the very long term nature of plastic pollution – here’s a story of cheese and onion crisps!!

A 30-year-old packet of Walkers crisps discovered by a boy washed up on a Cornwall beach highlights the growing problem of plastic pollution in our oceans, campaigners say.

Laurence Miller, 10, was part of a group of beach-cleaning volunteers when he discovered the largely intact bag of cheese and onion flavoured crisps on Sunday.

The schoolboy was doing the litter pick when he found the bag three times his age at Treyarnon Bay, in Padstow, Cornwall.

Despite not having a printed date still visible on the packet, researchers estimate it was produced during the 1980s.

Laurence, from Wadebridge, said: “We were doing a litter pick and I was walking up the stream a bit where the river meets the sea and I found it just embedded in the side of the bank.

SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.